Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The 49th Annual CMA Awards: Who SHOULD Win And Who WILL Win

   The 49th Annual CMA Awards will be held on Wednesday, November 4th at 8:00 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Once again, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will team up to take care of the hosting duties.  A CMA Award is the among the highest honors in country music.  The CMA Awards have always carried more relevance and weight than the ACM Awards or any of the other five hundred country award shows these days.  This year will once again feature many performances from artists outside of the genre, as country music continues to apologize for being country.  John Mellencamp, Fall Out Boy, Justin Timberlake, and Sam Hunt will all grace the stage, despite not actually being country artists.  Meanwhile real country talent like Sturgill Simpson, Courtney Patton, and The Turnpike Troubadours will watch (or not) from home.  Despite the carpetbagging performances and some questionable nominees, there are a lot of positives about this show.  Chris Stapleton is performing with Timberlake, so it may not be half bad.  He also saw a slew of well deserved nominations go his way.  Willie and Merle were nominated.  Hank Williams Jr will take the stage.  Maddie & Tae continue to surge towards the top.  It has potential to still be a decent show.  Below you will find a complete list of who is nominated for each category, who I think SHOULD win, and who I think WILL win.  Happy watching, folks!

Musician of the Year
Sam Bush, Mandolin
Jerry Douglas, Dobro
Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
Dann Huff, Guitar
Mac McAnally, Guitar

Who SHOULD Win: At this point, real musicians are hard to find in mainstream country.  These guys used to be all over every record.  Now it's all DJs and computer programmers.  I guess Franklin is my pick, as he still does some excellent work.

Who WILL Win:  Dann Huff.  He's got his finger all over mainstream country.

Musical Event of the Year
Django and Jimmie, Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard
"Lonely Tonight," Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe
"Raise 'Em Up," Keith Urban & Eric Church
"Smokin' And Drinkin'," Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town
"Wild Child," Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter

Who SHOULD Win:  If Willie or Merle is up for ANY awards against these posers, they should automatically be given it.  The rest of the nominees couldn't shine their boots, with all due respect given to some of the decent ones in there.

Who WILL Win:  Merle and Willie.  I think the CMA still appreciates the legends enough to throw them a bone.  Plus, this is a whole album of work, not just a song.  "Raise 'Em Up" is a close second.

Music Video of the Year
"Biscuits," Kacey Musgraves
"Girl Crush," Little Big Town
"Girl In A Country Song," Maddie & Tae
"Little Red Wagon," Miranda Lambert
"Something In The Water," Carrie Underwood

Who SHOULD Win:  Hey,all females nominated.  Once again, the CMA is throwing a bone here.  "See, we like female artists!"...
"Biscuits" was the most creative video here, I'll go with Kacey.

Who WILL Win: "Something In The Water" if Miranda wins female vocalist, "Little Red Wagon" if Carrie wins female vocalist.  This is a consolation prize for second place in the Female Vocalist of The Year category, nothing more, nothing less.

New Artist of the Year
Sam Hunt
Maddie & Tae
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Kelsea Ballerini

Who SHOULD Win:  Well, two of these artists are not just ok, but fantastic, so that's a plus from previous years.  Chris Stapleton is one of the best talents out there right now, and Maddie & Tae have defied the odds and made some great music.  I'm going to go with Maddie & Tae, mainly because they experienced a good deal of mainstream success with real country music.

Who WILL Win: Sam Hunt.  The carpetbagging hiphop wannabe will get some hardware to legitimize his presence in the genre.  Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings wept.

Vocal Duo of the Year
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae
Thompson Square

Who SHOULD Win: Considering Maddie & Tae are the only real country artists even nominated, they should win by default.  Man, this award is always a picture of what is wrong in country music.  Dan + Shay?  Gag me.

Who WILL Win: Douche Canoe 

Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Who SHOULD Win:  Well, in years past I've always championed Zac Brown or The Band Perry.  Both have sold out hardcore this year.  Little Big Town has lost their way.  Lady A and Flatts?  Please.  I'm boycotting this award.  Or better yet, self-nominating The Turnpike Troubadours.

Who WILL Win:  Little Big Town for their fake controversy.

Single of the Year
"American Kids" Kenny Chesney
"Girl Crush," Little Big Town
"I Don't Dance," Lee Brice
"Take Your Time," Sam Hunt
"Talladega," Eric Church

Who SHOULD Win:  Man, what a pedestrian bunch for single of the year.  None of these songs are particularly memorable, besides the terrible "Take Your Time".  The best song here is "Talladega", but that's still not Eric's best.

Who WILL Win: I'm guessing the CMA uses this as another chance to fawn over their new Hitler-hairdoed leader, Sam Hunt.  Gag me.

Song of the Year
"American Kids," Kenny Chesney
"Girl Crush," Little Big Town
"Like A Cowboy," Randy Houser
"Like A Wrecking Ball," Eric Church
"Take Your Time," Sam Hunt

Who SHOULD Win:   This is pathetic.  "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning" won this awards, for crying out loud.  None of these songs deserve this.  "Like A Wrecking Ball" is a fine song, but its just a blatant sex song.  How is that song of the year material?  I literally can't choose a winner from this gang.

Who WILL Win: "Girl Crush" is my lock of the night.  Little Big Town created a fake controversy to sell this song and it worked.  They claimed that callers were requesting this song to be removed from the playlist and radio stations were boycotting it.  Nobody ever actually boycotted this song, but they cried about it and everyone quickly fell over themselves praising it because country music is obsessed with being relevant.  Nothing is more relevant in 2015 than whining about how your particular corner of the world is mistreated, so it flew to the top of the charts.  Now the CMA will award a mediocre song its highest honor to prove that we love gay people, even though the song isn't about gay people, and even if it was, no one actually banned it.  Incredibly stupid all around.  Then we can listen to Little Big Town shout over each other at the microphone again.  Lovely.

Album of the Year
Old Boots, New Dirt, Jason Aldean
Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves
Pain Killer, Little Big Town
The Big Revival, Kenny Chesney
Traveller, Chris Stapleton

Who SHOULD Win:  My favorite award of the show each year is Album of the Year.  Making great albums is a dying art, and those who can create a full body of work worth listening to should be honored.  This is an easy pick for should win.  Chris Stapleton's Traveller will be competing for the top of every end of year best of 2015 list, including mine.  Its a great album full of real country songs and exquiste writing.  

Who WILL Win:  I have to say, I think Chris has an outside chance here.  I do think the CMA wants to include some balance to their show, and what better way to do it than to reward every critic's favorite mainstream album?  Kacey Musgraves is my second pick here, for the exact same reasons.

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood
Lee Ann Womack
Kelsea Ballerini

Who SHOULD Win:  Lambert vs. Underwwod once again.  I love them both, but there are so many great female artists that don't get the radio play that could mop the floor with those two.  I have to say, with the big "Something In The Water" single, a Greatest Hits album, and Storyteller, I think this should be the year Carrie gets her mojo back from Miranda.

Who WILL Win:  I am holding steady.  Not only do I think Carrie should win, I believe she will win.  Miranda's output has been terrible this year, literally picking the three worst songs from Platinum as her singles.  

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Luke Bryan 
Eric Church 
Blake Shelton
Chris Stapleton

Who SHOULD Win:  Eric Church and Dierks Bentley remain criminally unrewarded at these shows, but come on.  Chris Stapleton made the best actual country music of anyone on this list by far.

Who WILL Win:  Hmmm, no Aldean this year...  He is beginning to slip from the watchful eye of the CMA. Anyway, every year I predict one of my two mainstream guys that I get into will win.  I'm always wrong, but maybe this is the year.  Dierks will win this time!

Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan 
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Who SHOULD Win:  No contest here.  Garth Brooks has had the hottest ticket in the country all year.  His big comeback tour has been selling out multiple shows on multiple nights in every city.   I went to his show in Cleveland and it was fantastic.  Offstage he can be weird as all get out, arrogant, and quite annoying, but no one can deny that Garth isn't one heck of a showman.  He still owns that stage.

Who WILL Win:  Garth.  He has to.  Nobody has had the impact on the touring world like Garth has had in 2015.  I know he didn't get much radio play, but his shows were must-see events.  I would be shocked if he didn't win.  I can't wait to read about Luke's posse's meltdown again!

There you have it.  The 49th Annual CMA Awards will have some cool moments, some stinkers, and some WTF moments as well.  When you try to be a little bit of everything, you'll have that.  Sound off in the comments and let me know who you think will win and how the show is going!  Keep it country, kids!

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